.SUCKS Represents The Dark Side Of New gTLDs

Dark side of new gTLDs

As many of you know I am incredibly excited about some of the new gTLDs hitting the market next year. In most cases I think these new gTLDs will open the doors for people and businesses all over the world to build their brands online. We have already seen how a TLD can be branded the right way and make a real impact, just look at .CO and .ME and the number of incredibly successful startups that have built their businesses on these names.

Companies like Angel List, 500 startups, and Vine all got their top choice domain thanks to .CO. Companies like About.me and V.me have been able to do the same with .ME. The pricing for these TLDs is incredibly fair (under $30/year for each) and both registries have done an excellent job getting the TLD in front of the right people.

At the end of the day it’s not the TLD itself but the people behind it that will make all of the difference. What I love about new gTLDs is the opportunities that it creates for people all over the world just getting their start or looking to rebrand. It opens up the options and provides a choice most people have never had before.

Of course there’s a dark side to everything. There are “some” new TLDs that are going to focus on making money by essentially extorting companies who are scrambling to protect their brand in the new landscape. These TLD operators aren’t out to help companies, they just want to make money, period.

This week Michael Berkens from TheDomains broke the news that .SUCKS was charging Trademark holders $2,500 for priority registrations. The second I read, this I cringed. It was painful to see and even more painful to see that they are going to charge a whopping $25,000 if the Trademark holder waits for sunrise.

The geniuses behind this move is the Vox Populi Registry who I’m sure none of you have ever heard of and who don’t actually have the rights to run the TLD yet since they are battling over it with other guys like Donuts.

Jay Westerdal from Top Level Spectrum chimed in on Michael’s post and said the following:

“I am glad to see that Rob is offering to refund fees to people that pay $250 or $2500 per .sucks domain if they can’t deliver the domains. Donuts and Top Level Spectrum still have a good shot at winning the registry and as such “Vox Populi” will need to refund all their customers. In fact, as the CEO of Top Level Spectrum I personally feel that our company has the best chance to win. We have not announced pricing yet, but I can say that we don’t agree on pricing in which “Vox Populi” announced and we will not be honoring registrations taken in that system.”

It’s good to hear that Jay isn’t planning on matching this pricing model if they win the TLD, still I do think it’s clear that this TLD is going to make it’s money purely off of defensive registrations by companies, not by companies that want to build a better way for users to share their opinions about the product or service.

There’s always going to be some bad apples out there and it’s companies like Vox Populi that really give the new gTLDs a bad name. Just like Domainers who squat on typos and trademarks give our industry a bad name so will registries like these. While I personally think .SUCKS is a terrible gTLD and offers little for companies that want to improve their customer feedback loop it will be going live so all we can hope is that Vox doesn’t get their hands on it.

That being said, if they do will companies really pay to $2,500 or $25,000 for one of these? I think not. What do you think?

Photo Credit: leg0fenris via Compfight cc

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton